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State wrestling notebook: Four wrestlers place third in Saturday session at state championships

Consolation matches keep teams in good standing heading to finals

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Holy Family's Hunter Branson, left, wrestles Brendan Carroll of The Classical Academy at the state wrestling championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 in Denver.

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Brayden Engelking of Longmont (top) completes a takedown versus Pueblo West's Micah Duran in the 152-pound bracket at the 2020 state wrestling championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Joey Airola of Boulder looks for an opening to score in his Class 5A fifth-place match at 113 pounds at the state wrestling championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Grady Funk of Legacy turns Sage Harrison of Poudre to score back points in their consolation semifinal match at 182 pounds in the state wrestling championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Skyline's Andrew Sandoval, top, wrestles Cañon City's Ezavian Ortega in their consolation semifinal match at the 2020 state wrestling championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 in Denver.

  • Brandon Boles/BoCoPreps.com

    Broomfield senior Tyler Carpenter has his hand raised after winning the Class 4A fifth-place match at 285 pounds at the state wrestling championships on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 in Denver.

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DENVER — Before the state wrestling championships concluded with the finals Saturday night, 12 local wrestlers secured their spots on the medal podium in the consolation finals Saturday afternoon.

While there was representation from five of the schools that sent wrestlers to the finals, there were also a few other schools whose wrestlers earned spots on the podium battling back in the consolation bracket.

Hunter Branson of Holy Family returned to the podium for the last time in his high school career at 170 pounds. Coming off a semifinal loss, Branson made quick work with a pair of wins by fall to finish in third place.

“I feel pretty excited about it,” Branson said. “It wasn’t my goal, but it’s definitely a plus.”

Branson’s final chapter at state was a pin in 51 seconds, followed by a dance directed towards the Holy Family faithful in the stands.

“I was excited about it,” Branson said. “I knew it was going to happen in the first period. I felt it.”

SHS’ Sandoval slithers back to fifth

Skyline was able to get two wrestlers to place and had one battle back in the consolation bracket over a span of two days. Andrew Sandoval suffered a loss in the first round at 132 on Thursday and flirted with elimination, but he rattled off three consecutive wins to reach the consolation semifinals. Wrestling for fifth place, he won a 6-0 decision in his final match. Oscar Aranday joined him Saturday following his semifinal loss and he would finish in sixth place at 285.

The run at state is one Skyline hopes serves as a coming out party for the future with three of the four qualifiers coming back and a few others that just missed on qualifying at regionals.

“I think we’re happy but not satisfied,” Skyline coach Mike Silva said. “We had a couple of matches we left out there, but for the most part we wrestled really hard… To place two of them, we’re really excited about that and will move forward.”

Maverick strong

Emilio Chavez of Mead had a similar run as Branson in his return to the podium as a senior. Chavez reached the semifinal round before dropping a close 5-3 decision, but in the consolation bracket, he won his first match and fell in the second to take fourth place.

Boulder’s Airola takes fifth

Boulder had Joey Airola make it to the podium for the second time in his career. Following a loss in the consolation semifinals, he held on to win 6-5 in the fifth-place match at 113.

Notable

For the five teams that sent wrestlers to the finals and had others battling back in the consolations, they got a boost in the team scores with the wrestlers who won in the first session on Saturday to place. Broomfield picked up five wins in the session which led to Antonio Welch-Soto finishing in third place and both Ryan Vigil and Tyler Carpenter coming in fifth … Monarch would get Dillon Roman to third place at 113 pounds … Erie saw Noah Lopez go on and win the fifth-place match at 106 … Longmont had Brayden Engelking record three wins to finish in fourth place … Legacy saw Grady Funk place fifth.